Friday, 20 December 2013

Christmas Compass Points

Happy Christmas everyone!

Just a really quick Compass Points this week, to keep you up to date with all the seasonal review coverage and other festive nonsense!

There have been some lovely reviews for the Hesperus Minor children’s classics - the Evening Standard featured The Story of the Treasure Seekers, The Princess and the Goblin and The Red Fairy Book in their Christmas children’s books round-up and you can read the full article here . And also The Scotsman covered The Story of the Treasure Seekers by E. Nesbit in its books pages saying that the classic novel ‘has lost none of its appeal’.

This reminds me to tell you that the winner of this autumn’s Hesperus Uncover a Children’s Classic competition was The Runaways by Elizabeth Goudge, which was suggested by Adrienne Byrne who lives in Muswell Hill, London. Elizabeth Goudge is best-known for her children’s book The Little White Horse which JK Rowling cites as her favourite children’s book and a major inspiration for Harry Potter.  The Runaways (also previously published under the title Linnets and Valerians) was originally published in 1964 and has been out of print since 2001. All  judges (author Annie Dalton, children’s book critic for The Times Amanda Craig, Foyles children’s book buyer Jennifer Bell and Waterstones children’s book buyer Melissa Cox) were in agreement this classic, magical book deserved a new lease of life and it will fit perfectly into the Hesperus Minor list.

The Runaways will be published February 2104 along with The Children of the New Forest and Pollyanna. I loved these titles as a child, so I am personally very excited to see them back in print. The foreword for The Children of the New Forest will be written by Michael Rosen and the foreword for Pollyanna will be written by Anne Fine – and of course the introduction to The Runaways will be written by the competition winner, Adrienne Byrne.

This Monday – 23rd December – is the start of the ten-part BBC Radio 4 programme Books at Bedtime where actor Martin Jarvis will be reading The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared. The episodes will be on at 22.45 every day until January 3rd. This is sure to lead to even more sales of this colossal bestseller!

Well, that’s it for publishing news this week; but if the amount of books in your shop yet to be sold is really getting you down, then you could always take them home and make them all into a Christmas wreath – as suggested here on YouTube.



And in amongst all the festive fun and games – please spare time to think about this important Christmas message…




Onto Christmas music – what is the all time best Christmas song I wonder? I’ve always had a weakness for Wham and Mariah Carey myself, although George  – even you can’t carry off  that furry hat – and Mariah – what on earth are you doing to that poor reindeer.  




I do love more retro tune though, and this group - the Overtones singing a well known ditty on Radio Two this week made me smile. And I really like this new song from Kim Wilde - Hey Mr Snowman .



If, however, your tastes are for something a little bit more raucous, then you’ll probably enjoy Jimi Hendrix dressed as Santa - from 1967.

And let’s face it; you really can’t go wrong with good old Fairytale of New York - great video too!


 That’s all for now folks, more in 2014!


This blog is read weekly by over 600 booksellers, publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please click here to go to the Compass New Titles Website or talk to your Compass Sales representative.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Compass Points 67

It’s a rather shortened version of Compass Points today, as this week we have all been in London at the Compass Sales Conference, listening to our wonderful publishers tell us all about the fabulous titles they are bringing out next year! There are some real goodies coming up I can tell you – so here is a taster of just a few that caught my eye!

Desert for the Day is coming from Emex. This is a truly scrumptious idea – a book of 365 delicious pudding recipes – arranged with one for every day of the year – in suitably seasonal order. It is a £19.99 hardback with lots of mouth-watering colour photos throughout – definitely one to tempt all that love sugar and spice and all things nice!

And talking of recipes for those with a taste for the white powdery stuff; well no-one could be a bigger fan (not even David Cameron) of Nigella Lawson than I am; but nevertheless I did find the following spoof clip of the Domestic Goddess herself extremely funny!



Everywhere from Oxygen is a passionate and witty defence of the many joys and consolations of reading – something I’m sure booksellers everywhere will well appreciate. Helen Dunmore said called it “a brilliant travel guide to the city of books” which sums in up very nicely.

I’m sure there will be a great deal of commemorative publishing throughout 2014 to mark the start of the First World War. An interesting title on that subject caught my eye coming from Freight. Entitled Outside Verdun, it is a novel based on the experiences of a German soldier – a classic text, long out of print, which should find a wide audience with this timely reissue.

Of course it was “only” a comedy show, but nevertheless I know I am not the only one who find that watching the final moments of Blackadder Goes Forth is an extremely poignant reminder of the sacrifice that so many made in the Great War.

Benedict Cumberbatch – what can I say? You are indeed Cumberlicious, so I am very pleased that Plexus have seen fit to publish a pictorial biography of you – well done that publisher.

And here are three minutes of some of his finest moments from Sherlock –OMG actually I don’t think I should mention Sherlock, it just makes me hyperventilate.



To take my mind off Benedict, perhaps I’d better have a read of Apocalypse Next Tuesday – a wacky satire on the end of the world. This battle between good and evil is coming from Hesperus, and by all accounts is extremely funny.

Propaganda. Used throughout history to try and convince us – without us realising we’re being convinced – it can be a powerful weapon indeed. And also a very funny one when viewed with the hindsight of history. This new large format paperback coming from Arcturus is edited by Tony Husband, and contains many brilliant cartoon examples.

Rocks Off is a terrific biography of the Rolling Stones coming from Birlinn – which plots of the life of Mick and co using fifty of their top album tracks. Hmm, that definitely makes you wonder what is the best Rolling Stones album track? I’ve always liked the Harlem Shuffle, but maybe that’s just because of the promo video with the crazy cartoons!


Have you ever wondered if there is someone other than you living in your home? Possibly not a thought that has occurred to many of us – although at this time of year I definitely wonder whether there is someone other than me using my credit card. However, Nagasaki is a novel coming from Gallic, which is based on a true story where that very scenario occurred. It is set in France, where a man discovers quite by accident, that there is indeed a total stranger who has taken up residence in his house – and he has been living alongside her for quite sometime before the penny finally drops! This book has sold over 75,000 copies in France – and has won many awards. It is a most intriguing premise and I for one am looking forward to finding out a bit more!

The M25 – even if you live nowhere near London you’ve undoubtedly heard of this demonic ring road. Jam: One Night, One Road, Many Stories is an ace novel coming from Polygon, which explored how one almighty traffic jam on the M25 leads to a cataclysmic collision of many different stories, secrets and lives.

Wild Things Publishing are revealing more of those secret gems around the UK: Hidden Beaches will show you exactly where the best palaces are to paddle, swim surf, sunbathe or just admire.

So to finish, here’s a three minute clip of the best 25 beaches in the world – just the thing to take your mind of the cold, rain and fog that the UK is currently swathed in! Have a watch and see if you agree with the choices!



And finally; something seasonal to get you into the Christmas spirit – it’s an epic rap battle: Moses vs Santa Claus – enjoy!



That’s all for now folks, more next week!


This newsletter is sent weekly to over 600 booksellers, publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please click here to go to the Compass New Titles Website or talk to your Compass Sales representative.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Compass Points 66

To kick off this week, we’ve just heard about a fantastic new series which will start on ITV on Monday 6 January at 8pm entitled A Great Welsh Adventure with Griff Rhys Jones. This is running over two months; in eight 30 minute episodes. ITV are expecting really good viewing figures of around 5 million for this series as Griff is such a popular presenter, and it is being aired at peak viewing time. I’m pleased too say that Parthian is publishing the accompanying full-colour hardback edition (9781909844698 £4.99) in January which features lots of lovely photographs from the series. In this informal guide to Wales, Griff Rhys Jones rediscovers “the land of his aunties”. Born in Cardiff but raised in Essex, he returns home on a mission to explore the real Wales: the one beyond the tourist trail that exists in the deep beautiful countryside, full of hidden treasures and eccentric characters that make this country so unique. With help from a hidden hand, Griff is set a number of quests in eight distinct regions that not only test his knowledge of his homeland but his body too, as he climbs, abseils, rides and canoes his way through some truly breathtaking scenery. Griff’s journey takes him through Snowdonia, Anglesey, and the Gower; mid Wales, Brecon, Pembrokeshire, north Wales and Monmouthshire. Packed with all manner of weird, wonderful and enlightening facts, you’ll learn as much about Wales as you do about Griff! And is he or isn’t he insufficiently Welsh?!

There was an interesting article by Griff in the Guardian a couple of weeks ago (which mentions the book and TV series) about moving on with life following the sad death of comedy partner Mel Smith which you can read here

And here’s ten minutes of clips of Smith and Jones at their fabulously funny best!



A big feature in the Sun this week for Sex: 369 Facts to Blow You Away by Sadie Cayman. Join her on a randy romp through the glorious world of sex, as we discover the longest orgasm on record, the world’s first penis museum, and why every man can travel as fast as Usain Bolt – well, his sperm, that is! This book is packed full of extraordinary and fascinating facts and would make a good present for a partner or fun-loving friend. Did you know for example that the most orgasms experienced by a woman in one hour is 134; the record for a man is 16. Thirty minutes of active sex burns approximately 200 calories and the proteins in sperm make a very effective anti-wrinkle treatment! This is a £5.99 hardback from Summersdale, which has just been published.
Order Sex here (not sure this sentence will get past the porn filters, but let’s give it a go!)

Some good publicity for three Carcanet titles in the Christmas book features. Her Birth (978 1 847772 38 1 pb) by Rebecca Goss will be included in the Daily Mail Christmas Round Up of Best Books.  The Greek Anthology, Book XVII (9781906188054) by Greg Delanty has been listed in Times Literary Supplement’s Books of the Year, selected by A.E. Stallings. “In these archly archaic ventriloquisms, Delanty’s wry wit comes through.” And finally, the Sunday Telegraph Supplement Seven Magazine featured Muriel Spark’s biography of Mary Shelley (978 1 847772 37 4 pb £12.95) “a brief but brilliant biography of Mary Shelley which has all the economy and ruthless insight of her novels.”

And if you need reminding of Mary Shelley’s most famous work, then it's time to have a look at Boris Karloff's finest hour!




The Totes Ridictionary by Balthazar Cohen will be featured in the Sunday Times Style magazine at the end of December – there will be a big two page spread on it and then they’ll run an image from it each week. There certainly has been a crazy amount of media nterest this year in words like “deets”, “jel”, “obvs” and  “twerk” – and The Totes Ridictionary is the ideal way to keep ridiculously up to date with the way language has changed during 2013 – in emails, tweets, Facebook posts, text messages, blogs and even real-life conversations. It’s a paperback from Plexus, with over 60 photos and illustrations (978 0 85965 511 8).

And if you’d rather have a visual definition of the word “twerk” – well then  take it away Miley  – or should I say put it away Miley.



We mentioned that Andrew Marr was seem reading and enjoying Good for Nothing by Brandon Graham a couple of weeks ago – and the word of mouth buzz is definitely building for this title.  Audrey Niffenegger, the author of The Time Traveller’s Wife said “Brandon Graham is a very funny, painfully observant, no-holds-barred American writer. … This is a brilliant book. When times are really horrible it's good to be able to laugh (especially at ourselves).” This amazing debut novel, containing humour with a bite, covers a week when Flip Mellis tries to rid himself of excess weight and solve the problems of his life when a suicide attempt – like much else in his life – fails to achieve its goal. Overweight, weak-willed, and quick to criticise others, Flip has a self-fulfilling fatalism which leads him to stumble through each day, hoping against hope that he can get a job, mend his marriage and rebuild his life. Perceptively observed characters from American small-town life populate the book in hilarious cameos and get in the way of Flip’s well-meaning attempts at reform. This is approachable, laugh-out-loud humour and comes from same agent and editor as the 2012 runaway bestseller The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed of the Window and Disappeared. It is coming out in paperback (978-0-9551810-7-8 £8.99) in January from new independent publisher, Skyscraper Publications. Order Good for Nothing here

Can you name 10 famous Belgians? Or do you think it is just boring Brussels and all those Eurocrats on the gravy train? Until 1993, Alec le Sueur had never been to Belgium, so it came as some surprise when in August that year he found himself at the altar of a small church in Flanders, reciting wedding vows in Flemish. It was the start, for better or for worse, of a long relationship with this unassuming and much maligned little country. He decided to put worldwide opinion to the test: is Belgium really as boring as people say it is? Bottoms up in Belgium: Seeking the High Points of the Low Land sees Alex immersing himself in Belgian culture – and sampling the local beer and ‘cat poo’ coffee along the way. He discovers a country of contradictions; of Michelin stars and processed food, where Trappist monks make the best beer in the world and grown men partake in vertical archery and watch roosters sing (not necessarily at the same time). This colourful and eccentric jaunt is proof that Belgium isn’t just a load of waffle. It’s published in paperback (978 1 84953 247 1 £8.99) by Summersdale.

We are delighted to announce that The Summer My Father Died (9781846590948, paperback £8.99) by Yudit Kiss and published by Telegram has been shortlisted for the 2014 Jewish Quarterley Wingate Prize. This prize is awarded to a book that explores themes of Jewish concern in any of its myriad possible forms either explicitly or implicitly. The other shortlisted titles are Shani Boianjiu’s The People of Forever Are Not Afraid, Otto Dov Kulka’s Landscapes of the Metropolis of Death, Ben Marcus’ The Flame Alphabet, Anouk Markovits’ I Am Forbidden and Edith Pearlman’s Binocular Vision. Yudit Kiss grew up a communist in Budapest, soaking up her father’s ideology unquestioningly. As her father lies dying, Yudit tries to understand the enigma surrounding his life. As she digs deeper into his tragic history Yudit is forced to confront the contradictions and lies woven into the life of her family – and her country – through the dramatic twists of twentieth century Hungary. Lyrical and poetic, The Summer My Father Died is a powerful memoir. The winner will be announced on 26 February, during Jewish Book Week, at a ceremony at Kings Place in London.

2014 marks the 100th anniversary of Ernest Shackleton’s expedition to Antarctica - one of the most breath-taking and inspiring adventure stories of all time. Shackleton’s Boat Journey by Frank Worsley is published in new B format edition by Birlinn to mark the anniversary of this classic tale of British bravery, loyalty and inspiring leadership. Ernest Shackleton was 11th in the BBC public poll of 100 Greatest Britons – ahead of Sir Francis Drake, Charles Dickens and Florence Nightingale and Sir Edmund Hillary called this “A breath-taking story of courage under the most appalling conditions”. On August 1, 1914, on the eve of World War I, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his hand-picked crew embarked in HMS Endurance from London’s West India Dock, for an expedition to the Antarctic. It was to turn into one of the most breathtaking survival stories of all time. Even as they coasted down the channel, Shackleton wired back to London to offer his ship to the war effort. The reply came from the First Lord of the Admiralty, one Winston Churchill: “Proceed.” And proceed they did. When the Endurance was trapped and finally crushed to splinters by pack ice in late 1915, they drifted on an ice floe for five months, before getting to open sea and launching three tiny boats as far as the inhospitable, storm-lashed Elephant Island. They drank seal oil and ate baby albatross (delicious, apparently). From there Shackleton himself and seven others – the book’s author Frank Worsley among them –went on, in a 22-foot open boat, for an unbelievable 800 miles, through the Antarctic seas in winter, to South Georgia and rescue. It is an extraordinary story of courage and even good-humour among men who must have felt certain, secretly, that they were going to die. Worsley’s account, first published in 1940, captures that bulldog spirit exactly: uncomplaining, tough, competent, modest and deeply loyal.

And talking of breathtaking journeys made under the most appalling conditions over hundreds of miles – what do we all think of Amazon’s ambitious idea to get their drones to deliver the books? Have a look here to find out more.

Hang on a minute though, Waterstone’s have a much better plan. Very Harry Potter, and I like it a lot!

But do the general public actually want to get books for Christmas anyway – whether or not they are bought in a bookshop or delivered by an owl? Well this little brat certainly didn’t: I must say I found this clip absolutely hilarious!


 That’s all for now folks, more next week!

This blog is read weekly by over 600 booksellers, publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please click here to go to the Compass New Titles Website or talk to your Compass Sales representative.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Compass Points 65

Let’s have a look at some of the titles coming in January. First up is Ad and Wal: A Story of Values, Duty, Sacrifice. This is by the British Labour MP for Neath, Peter Hain. What would you do if you lived under the ugliest of regimes, a byword for repression and injustice? What would you do if you knew that you could stay safe only if you stayed quiet? Most of us like to think we’d stand up to fight against evil.Ad and Wal is the story of two people who became heroes by rebelling against the regime, despite the knowledge they were putting themselves in grave danger. Peter Hain recounts the true story of his freedom-fighter parents in this deeply affecting portrait of love, sacrifice and tragedy. It is a story of how two people put their deep-seated feeling for what is right ahead of their own safety, and took on the vicissitudes of an unjust and brutal regime. This heart warming and heartbreaking story of two white South Africans who risked everything to battle apartheid is a parable for our time and its publication coincides with the release of the major new film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom in January 2104. Peter Hain is a superb writer, his memoir Outside In sold 4,000 copies in hardback and the Guardian said that it “Reads more like a political thriller than a memoir.” while the Observer commented that it was “Disarmingly understated … refreshingly honest … Peter Hain has lived life to the full, which is more than most of our politicians can say.” Ad and Wal is published by Biteback in hardback (9781849546430, £16.99).

Never again need you confuse consommé with coulis, or entrée with entrecôte.Now you can bask in the admiration of your fellow companions as you pronounce confidently on what to do and where to do it and effortlessly hold your own against the most highbrow of society. The Bluffer's Guide to Etiquette by William Hanson is the brand new title for the 5-million-copy bestselling series. William Hanson is considered by Sky News to be “the UK's leading consultant in etiquette & protocol” and is widely regarded as the UK’s freshest and most trusted authority on etiquette and protocol. His youth, coupled with his old-fashioned values, gives him credence to adjudicate on modern manners. A regular contributor to global media not only as an etiquette expert but also as an astute social commentator, William has been seen on BBC Breakfast, ITV This Morning, CNN, and Russell Howard's Good News, and is regularly to be heard on BBC Radio 5 Live- so you can expect lots of reviews and features in national and regional press and magazines for this entertaining and useful title! It published in paperback, 9781909937000, £6.99.

And here’s a very amusing five minute clip of The Bluffer's Guide to Etiquette’s author William Hanson in action on BBC3, trying very hard to teach comedian Russell Howard some manners…


But if you’re looking to be entertained in an entirely different manner, then how about Sexy Ways to Play: A Guide to Sex Toys by Emily Dubberley. This is a fun and frank introduction to bedroom toys and the paperback boxed set from appropriately named Connections Publishing (978-1-85906-381-1 £12.99) even includes a toy to try straight away. Oooh er missus indeed! Expert author with media profile Emily Dubberley is a bestselling author and journalist specializing in sex and relationships. The UK’s number one sex guru, Emily pioneered online erotica for women, and she regularly appears on TV and radio shows as a spokesperson on sex-related topics. Written in a fresh, frank and fun style this pack presents all you ever wanted to know but were too shy to ask about bedroom toys. The range is bewildering, but Emily has tested over 600, and offers here a selection of the classics to help you find the right vibe for you, and your partner. You’ll find useful profiles on the toys, along with guidance on best use. Plus there’s advice on how to introduce toys into your lovemaking, and different techniques to explore with your partner. There are even tips on advanced toy play, for when you’re ready to take it to the next level. I don’t have to tell you what a growth area of the market spicy saucepot publishing is – and I’m not even going to mention F***y S***** of ****; but something tells me this book might do very well. And no – I’m not going to even attempt to give you an appropriate film clip to watch on You Tube – as I don’t think it would get past Big Brother's - sorry David Cameron’s - porn filters.

Who did Forbes Magazine name as the most powerful man in the world, last month? Yes, it’s Vladimir Putin. Seen through Western eyes he is strong-willed, unpredictable, venal, and vain. But how does he appear to his people? The Putin Mystique:  Inside Russia’s Power Cult by Anna Arutunyan has been described as “Gripping… a dramatic eye-opener on the Russian soul” and is a vivid and revealing exploration of the way in which myth, power and religion interact    to produce the love-hate relationship between the Russian people and Vladimir Putin. Anna Arutunyan is a journalist and writer, working for the Moscow News. She was born in the Soviet Union but was raised and educated in the United States. She lives in Moscow and has observed Putin in action over the last ten years and in this learned but readable book she puts Putin in the context of Russian history and culture and shows how it is almost inevitable that every ruler of Russia plays the role of a tsar, whether or not he is crowned. There is a deep need for autocracy which generates autocrats. With lively reportage of such topics as the Pussy Riot Affair, the treatment of autocrats like Khodorkovsky and Berezovsky, and the vital role bribery and corruption play in Russian society; she vividly and amusingly illuminates news stories which are covered fitfully and sometimes inadequately in the West, and shows how they often echo events across hundreds of years of Russian history. This book is published to coincide with the Winter Olympics in Russia, in February 2014, which will undoubtedly focus attention on Putin and his rule. 2014 is also the UK/Russia Year of Culture. This is a £16.99 hardback (978-0-9926270-2-7) from Skyscraper Publications and you can order it here.

And if you’d like to see another side to Vladimir, then have a look at this five minute clip of him playing the piano and singing Blueberry Hill – I kid you not!


Once Christmas is over, and the January sales have finally been and gone, our thoughts will be turning to the next opportunity to sell some books – Valentine’s Day. Here is an ardent selection of gift titles from Summersdale, all new in January and essential for any romantic bookseller’s Love themed promotion. Classic Love Poems (hardback £9.99, 9781849535151) is edited by Max Morris. Previous edition of this title have sold 24,000 copies, and there is no doubt that poetry is the perfect medium to express affection and passion in all its forms – from the initial stirrings of romance and desire to enduring love in full bloom. This exquisitely illustrated anthology contains inspiring and moving poetry by some of the best-loved writers in the English language, from Geoffrey Chaucer to Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and from William Shakespeare to Christina Rossetti.

I Love You is by Lisa Swerling & Ralph Lazar who are the husband-and-wife team that created the hugely popular Harold’s Planet and Vimrod Cards. The simplest romantic gestures are the best – scribble ‘I Love You’ with a red crayon and it can get you into all sorts of trouble! This is the perfect (and quirkiest) way to say those three little words. This is a gift hardback 9781849535144, £5.99.

Another gift hardback; I Love You to the Moon and Back is a beautifully-designed collection of quotations to appeal to lovers young and old. This delightful book, packed with heartfelt quotations from romantics old and new, is the perfect way to say, ‘I love you to the moon and back.’ (9781849535250 £5.99)

Or you may prefer You’re The Spring in my Step, also a £5.99 hardback which is a little quirkier, exploring how falling in  love is like finding the yin to your yang, the butter on your crumpet, the Watson to your Holmes. This little book is packed with romantic, funny and charming ways to tell the one you love just how much they mean to you and adds a modern twist to the traditional declarations of love, with a fresh, contemporary design.

Love Vouchers and Sex Vouchers are both £5.99, tear-out books of vouchers which give you the opportunity to pamper someone you love. You can decide if you prefer the sweet or the saucy: will you choose the romantic gestures, from breakfast in bed to a dreamy weekend away or something a bit spicier; from a seductive massage to a steamy shower session!

Ahhhh – all this soppy stuff has put me in the mood for something sentimental – how about Love is the Sweetest Thing as sung by Al Bowlly with Ray Noble – just to remind ourselves of what it’s really all about!


Can any of us remember when journalists were daring investigative heroes – working tirelessly to expose corruption rather spending their days hacking celebrities’ mobile phones and trying to photograph Kate Middleton’s bosoms? One such journalistic colossus is without doubt Chapman Pincher, now 99 years old, and going stronger than ever. Dangerous to Know: The Autobiography of Harry Chapman Pincher is colourful, indiscreet and compelling – and also reveals the secret history of the century he bestrode. Harry Chapman Pincher was one of the most famous newspaper men of his day and his era’s foremost investigator of the vicissitudes of the state. He is the author of many bestselling books including Their Trade is Treachery. His name, a byword for investigative journalism, sounded a note of real terror for those trying to safeguard the secrets of state. Chapman Pincher came to journalism late, after early careers as a teacher, a scientist and a soldier, but after joining Lord Beaverbrook’s then all-powerful Daily Express in the summer of 1945, he swiftly became the master of the journalistic scoop. His first splash, a leaked top secret account of the development of the atomic bomb, sparked a furious trans-Atlantic row. It was only the start of a career in which the name Chapman Pincher became synonymous with high-level leaks from the most secret parts of government. At a time when national newspapers operated out of Fleet Street and journalists hunted in packs, Chapman Pincher preferred to hunt alone, cultivating the high and mighty at shooting parties and other social gatherings where they were relaxed enough to share what seemed at the time to be every secret they knew. He still revels in the bitter claim of historian E P Thompson, that he was “a kind of official urinal” into which senior members of the government and the intelligence services stood “patiently leaking in the public interest”. When he finally retired from journalism, the leaks kept coming, leading to a series of best-selling books on the infiltration of Britain’s intelligence services by Moscow which culminated in the allegation in Their Trade is Treachery that the head ofMI5 was a Soviet spy. It is a £20 hardback from Biteback (9781849546515)

And talking of the head of MI5 being a secret agent, what better way to while away fifteen minutes than watching The Top Ten moments in Spooks as voted for by cast and crew. Oh why oh why did they get rid of this series I cry…


And now a round up of what’s in the media this week….

There was a great piece in the Telegraph promoting Glitzch by Hugh Kellett and you can find out all the details on Glitzch! here. It’s £8.99 from Bene Factum Publishing  (9781909657212).

There’s lots and lots in the news about what will or won’t happen if Scotland do or don’t decide to vote for independence. Which is all good publicity for The Battle for Britain: Scotland and the Independence Referendum by David Torrance (9781849545945). This book charts the long political fight between the Unionists and Nationalists, detailing the ins and outs of the referendum campaign based on opinion poll data, contemporary media coverage and, most importantly, in-depth interviews with protagonists on both sides of the debate: strategists, ministers, campaign gurus and leading journalists. This is the ultimate companion to the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence and gives readers the full story of how the referendum came about, detailing the people involved and the essential facts and figures. The Guardian said this week “If you are looking for a clear, informed and balanced guide to this subject, this book will be very hard to beat.” It’s published by Biteback in paperback, £14.99 , 978184954594.

100 Reasons to Love Ryan Gosling by Joanna Beneke is getting lots of publicity in the gossipy mags – and on line. The book reviewed in Reveal magazine, Now magazine, Star magazine, QX magazine, Bent magazine and in Out in the City magazine’s Christmas gift guide.100 Reasons to Love Ryan Gosling is £12.99 in paperback. 9780859655019 from Plexus.

A massive spread this week in the Daily Mail with tons of pictures this week for author Jennifer Berkley, on trying to be a mother with lots of good plugs for her book Falling in Honey: Life and Love on a Greek Island, which is published in paperback by Summersdale (978-1849532716).

A bit of exciting news for one of our independent publishers this week (as reported in today’s Bookseller); Myrmidon has signed a companion guide to cult TV drama Breaking Bad. It is the independent publisher's first ever non-fiction book. The publisher signed UK rights in Wanna Cook? The Complete, Unofficial Breaking Bad Companion by Ensley F Guffey and K Dale Koontz. Handyside, the publisher at Myrmidon, said: "Expansion into non-fiction was always a feature on our horizon and this excellent volume is a sound beginning. Wanna Cook? is a unique and expertly written companion guide to the hit TV series Breaking Bad and will appeal to existing fans as well as those new to and curious about it.”  Wanna Cook? is a 500-page paperback covering every episode of Breaking Bad, from filming details to overall themes. Guffey and Koontz are both pop culture writers who have written scholarly essays on films and TV. The book is set for publication in April 2014, to coincide with the BAFTA awards, where the TV programme is expected to feature among the nominations. And in case you’ve been under a stone for the last year, Breaking Bad is the crazy popular TV hit which follows an American chemistry teacher called Walter White, who begins making drugs after discovering he has cancer.


That’s all for now folks, more next week!


This newsletter is sent weekly to over 600 booksellers, publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please click here to go to the Compass New Titles Website or talk to your Compass Sales representative.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Compass Points 64 Christmas Highlights Special

It might not yet be Advent in the church sense of the word, but in terms of the more secular aspect of the season – i.e. buying tons of stuff – we are now well and truly on the run up to Christmas! Click below to be taken to the


This is a veritable cornucopia of wonderful titles! Here you can download a PDF of our top titles – sorted by category. Or if you prefer, you can click below on the appropriate heading in bold type to go straight to the page for the section you want where you can find all the ISBN and price information. 

The fascinating lives of extraordinary people: here’s the best of Biography

Fun and Fairytales, classic and modern; you'll love our wonderful Children's books

Be transported to another world with the best of our Fiction

From McCartney to Ellington, Jagger to Styles it’s time for some Film and Music

Ho Ho Ho, what we all love are Gift and Humour titles ...



What shaped the world we live in? Find out with these thought provoking History titles.

Lose yourself in Poetry

Whether you’re looking for a Power Trip or find yourself In The Eye of the Storm; you’ll need our books on Politics.

On your bike or on the pitch; player or armchair slouch; the Sports section has something for all.

Wherever you want to go, our Travel titles will take you there.

And if you’d prefer to journey via your imagination; then browse through our Travel Literature




All the very best in Gift and Humour from Summersdale

Last but not least, make sure you don't forget these smashers!

Phew – looking at all of this makes you realise just how many superb titles our wonderful publishers have come up with this year!

Now, what’s in the news this week?

F in Retakes (978-1849533133) from Summersdale  is zooming up the bestseller charts – and don’t forget the new one which is published this month  F in School  F in School (978-1849535069) both by Richard Benson .

Carcanet have just published their 2014 catalogue, which you can have a browse through here – lots of truly inspirational poetry, and what a beautiful cover.

The paperback of Trains and Lovers (9781846972638) by Alexander McCall Smith published by Birlinn has got a major media campaign to launch it this week, kicking off with a 4-sheet ad campaign starting on 2nd December for 4 weeks, focusing on key mainline stations on the East Coast rail line from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh. BBC Radio 4 are interviewing McCall Smith, which will be broadcast on 6th December and there will also be a Christmas day interview for BBC Radio Scotland. There will be an interview and extract from the book running in the Sunday Times, and it will also be featured in a Christmas selection in the Daily Telegraph and the Scotsman and there will be a piece in the New Statesman.

Space Has No Frontier: The Terrestrial Life and Times of Sir Bernard Lovell (9781903071984) by John Bromley-Davenport was launched this week by Benefactum. Described by Patrick Moore as “the Isaac Newton of radio astronomy”, the life of Sir Bernard Lovell spans almost a century of revolutionary advances and discoveries in science, whose applications were of vital significance in the Cold War. Lovell, it can now be revealed, was at the very heart of it all. The extraordinary life of Bernard Lovell began before the First World War and his story encompasses many of the great events of last hundred years: the Second World War, the invention of radio astronomy, the space race, the Moon landings, the exploration of the Solar System, the Cold War, the Cuban missile crisis and the defence of Britain against nuclear attack. It can now be revealed that he was also a spy. “He ranks as one of the great visionary leaders of science,” Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal, said of him. The great radio telescope which Lovell built became and remains one of the most important scientific instruments in the World. The Jodrell Bank Observatory and the Lovell Telescope have held their place at the frontier of research for fifty five years. This book seeks to explore succinctly and accessibly Lovell’s life and achievements in the scientific and political context of the time. His legacy remains great, as can be seen from the extensive media coverage and personal tributes that his death in 2012 attracted all over the world. With the seventieth anniversaries of many wartime events in which he played a crucial role, as well as the recent declassification of information relating to his activities as an agent in the Cold War, this biography is sure to have a broad and timely interest. I must say that personally although I had heard of the Lovell telescope I had no idea quite how important and brilliant Sir Bernard Lovell was, and it certainly seems to me that a biography of this under-sung man was long overdue. Public fascination with astronomy today, popularised by figures like the late Patrick Moore and Brian Cox, makes Lovell’s contributions to science of particular interest.  You can click here to go to a clip on the BBC website to see Lovell talking to Patrick Moore about his work. I think this £20 hardback would make a very good Christmas present for anyone remotely interested in the universe – and I don’t just mean in the Doctor Who sense!

And have a look here at some amazing footage from the International Space Station, just to remind yourself what an extraordinary planet we all inhabit!



That’s all for now folks, more next week!


This blog is read weekly by over 600 booksellers, publishers and publicists. If you would like to order any of the titles mentioned, then please click here to go to the Compass New Titles Website or talk to your Compass Sales representative.